Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Out Of The Crate

Today is our second day at the lake, and so far Brutus hasn't gone in his crate. Whew! He has spent a fair amount of time sitting by the door pouting because he wants to play outside, but NOT on his leash. He was outside all day with Don yesterday without his leash on, and had done great, so last night when he had to go potty, I let him out the front door without it.

Immediately his nose went straight up in the air. I should have known at that very second that I was in trouble because that boy has a nose like a Coon Hound, but he walked down the steps to the nearest snow bank and "took care of business". Just as I'm thinking "what a good boy", he takes off down the driveway, and I hear multiple hooves running in the snow. There were obviously some deer hanging out in the woods across the road. I called him, which was pointless, so I begrudgingly put on my boots, which I must say made a great fashion statement with my jammies, and headed out to round him up. Thankfully, as soon as I got to the end of the driveway, he came trotting back across the road. Waiting for him to decide to come home during the day is one thing. Waiting for him at night would make me crazy!! He didn't even ask for a treat. He just came in and jumped on the bed. I think, actually I know, that he knew he had been naughty. But I can guarantee that he thought it was worth it.

Today Brutus spent some time helping dad clean off the deck, by eating the fallen birdseed. That will make for some interesting poop scooping! I think I'll leave that job up to Don this week. :)

Well, I'm off to get ready to head in to town to do some toy shopping. Both of Brutus's Kong toys that we throw for him are toast, and they're pretty important. One got ruined from lots of play, and Brutus chewing the ball out of it. The other one hit it's demise yesterday in the snow blower. I don't think Don was any happier than the toy was. It took him quite a while to get all of the pieces out of the snow blower! Since we have actually had both of these toys for many months, there will be no complaining coming from us!! Thank you Kong company for making a great toy. :)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I Don't Think Brutus Likes Christmas

Brutus has had a tough few days. It could have been because I was busy getting things ready for the holiday and didn't get to spend as much time with him, but things really seemed to start going down hill for him when we brought the Christmas tree in to the house.

We waited until five days before Christmas to actually bring the tree in to the house for fear that Brutus would think it would be a great tree to pee on. I'm happy to say that that didn't happen. I am actually amazed to say that that didn't happen. We had to move his crate from one side of the rec room to the other side of the rec room to put the tree up, and I thought he would be fine with that too. He hates his crate. Instead, he spent the next week pretty much living in his crate, by his own choice. It was so sad. He would greet the kids as they came home, let them rub his belly for a minute, then go in his crate. He even sat in his crate while we were opening presents, and I thought for sure that he would be right in the middle of all the action chewing up all of the boxes and throwing around the paper. He was acting completely depressed.

When we go to bed at night, Brutus is usually two steps ahead of us. He LOVES to crawl in to bed and snuggle up. The whole week of Christmas, he would come to bed for a little bit, and then leave and go down in his crate. The "down" part is strange too because he doesn't like to be downstairs. The kids stayed up much later than we did, so they would be downstairs visiting, but he would still go in his crate instead of hanging out with them. We're talking about a boy who loves to be the center of attention here. Not necessarily in a bad way, but at least in some way.

It also bothered him (a lot) that he didn't get to ride in the car the whole week. I had my car completely vacuumed out so Nick could use it while he was home. His girlfriend Liz was coming in to town for the first time, and they had plans with other friends too, and there was just no way that they needed to be using a sticky roller to get dog fur off of them every time they stepped out of the car, so my car was off limits. Don had just vacuumed out his car too. He was taking some of his guys from work out for a Christmas lunch toward the end of the week, and no dog fur was allowed in his car either. Every time someone would leave, Brutus would go running down to the entry way all raring to go for a ride, only to be told to sit and stay. When he did what he was told, and the person left and didn't come back in for him, he was pretty sad.

On a bright note, he did get a new "Tuffy" toy for Christmas from a company that claims to make the "tuff"est soft dog toys ever. When it first came and I took it out of the box, I swore that Brutus would never get through it. This thing was sewn through so many times, and made out of some of the strongest fabric I had ever felt. Four days. That's what it took. In four days Brutus had the top of the head ripped open and was unstuffing this guy. He LOVES this toy, so I think I'm going to have to just keep restuffing it and sewing it back shut!! I would still say it was a purchase that was worth it, because Brutus loves to chew on soft toys and pull out the stuffing, and at least this one was a challenge for him. Here's a link to the company if anyone wants to check them out, and I'll put a link up on the main page too. Their shipping was incredibly fast, and for the quality of the toy, I felt the price was reasonable.

The tree is now out of the house, and the kids have all gone home, :-( . On the bright side, we packed up the three cats and Brutus and headed to the lake. Today Brutus gets to spend the day with dad snow blowing the driveway (which is huge) and going for a ride in to town. He will be the happiest boy on earth. Hopefully now that things are settling down he will get over pouting in his crate. I will never know what made him do that, especially for a dog who has typically been very fearful of his crate. Does he have bad memories from something that happened in a house with a Christmas tree? Is that the time of year he was thrown away? I guess we'll never know. January 9th will mark the one year Anniversary of when Brutus joined our family, and all I know for sure is that we will celebrate, and special treats will be given. Maybe even a Kong birthday cake with peanut butter in it. He'll have no idea what we're celebrating, but Don and I will know that we're marking the one year mark of one crazy ass fun year!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Ho Ho Ho and a Ha Ha Ha!

What happens when you do this to Brutus??

Brutus does this!!

And Mom dies laughing. I know, I know. I can just hear what Don is saying right now, but it really was too funny!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Crazy Busy Week

I'm not sure where this week has gone, but somehow it managed to get away from me with the Brutus blog not being updated. Since I don't want to bore you with a bunch of crazy details from the week, I'm just going to do a photo update today of Brutus spending some great quality time playing outside at the lake with Dad. Whether water is liquid, or frozen, he loves it........big time.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Brutus Scissor Teeth

Friday night when Don and Brutus headed to the lake, I headed out to do some shopping. The primary things on my list were cat food and milk. I came home with a new sofa and dog toys! I would say I got a little distracted. Happens to the best of us, doesn't it??

The toys I bought for Brutus were intended to go in his Christmas stocking, but the little stinker got his nose in to a small open space in my bedroom closet door, sliding it open, and managed to find the stuffed hedge hog I had bought him. He LOVES stuffed animals, especially with squeakers in them. Somehow Brutus was built with an internal "squeaker" detector, and a passion for unstuffing stuffed animals. As long as he doesn't do it to real animals, I'm cool with buying the occasional $3.00-$5.00 toy for him to have his fun with. The first thing to go is always the eyes. He literally puts his little front teeth around the attached eyeball, rips it off and spits it out. Next is usually the limbs. Once the limb pocket is open, he starts unstuffing the animal. He loves to pull the stuffing out bit by bit and spit it out. As soon as he can get a hold of that squeaker bag, out it comes. He squeaks it a few times, spits that out too, then shreds the rest of the animal. I can tell you with certainty that it goes this way every time. I would say that it's a big waste of a toy, but he enjoys himself like you wouldn't believe. So that was last night.

This morning he pulled the good old "mom's on the phone, what can I get away with" routine. I finally got fed up with trying to keep him entertained while I was on the phone, so I caved and gave him his other Christmas stocking toy. It WAS a twisted rope with a tennis ball in the middle of it. He loves to play tug of war, and chase after balls we throw, so this would be perfect. Or so I thought. I took the tags off and threw it to him, and he literally had it destroyed in five minutes. All that's left is the rope, and I'm sure he'll have that shredded in no time. On the bright side, it works great to clean his teeth. :-(

I'm just not sure what Santa's going to think about this.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Where Did Summer Go...And I Want It Back!

Brutus isn't liking this being a house dog business. Summer was so much easier. If I had to go somewhere (while living at the lake), I would simply make sure that his water bowl was nice and full, put him on his outdoor tie and leave the garage door open about two feet. It was perfect. He could spend the whole time guarding the house from chipmunks, which frankly was a full time and very interesting job for him, and I knew that he would be fine and entertained while I was gone. We have neighbors close enough to us that I knew he wasn't sitting there crying the whole time. If he was, I would have heard about it. He did one night, but there were deer hanging out in our yard, just beyond his reach. That wasn't even fair. I think they knew exactly what they were doing. I can just see them standing there eating my baby trees, and the conversation going something like this; "Wow, let's just stand here and see if we can really irritate that dog. Oh my gosh, look at him bark, that's so funny. How long do you think he'll keep doing that? I'll bet you that bush over there that he'll bark for thirty minutes!!". Um yeah. It probably wasn't a good night for our poor neighbors.

So now that we're living back in the city and winter has hit, Brutus is officially an indoor dog. If I leave the house and he can't come with me, he has to be crated. He has terrible separation anxiety, and even though I plan to train him to eventually be in the house alone, he had enough other issues that were higher on the list to conquer before that one. If I were to leave him in the house out of his crate, I wouldn't have a front door left when I got home. He would freak! We still try to walk him every day, but it is gradually getting a little tougher too, even for his own well being. This morning it was 3 degrees Fahrenheit when I woke up, and I don't want him freezing the little pads on the bottom of his feet, and I can guarantee that he isn't a "boot" dog. We have trouble getting close enough to his feet to trim his nails, so if we were trying to fashion him up with some boots he would have a fit and also chew them up in a New York minute. Plus, I find dog fashion to be a little embarrassing. I get the whole sweater thing, especially for small or short haired dogs, but the ruffled dog dresses are so BAD! Our neighbors black poodle was outside last weekend trying to jump around through the snow in a red ruffled dress. So not cool.

Anyway, now that it's cold out and stays dark so much later in the morning, Brutus likes to sleep in until around 9:30 in the morning. I had to leave at 8:30 today to go to the doctor, and he couldn't come with, so I had to get him out of bed and outside to go to the bathroom before I could leave. I would have liked for him to eat a little breakfast too, but he knew I was up to something, and he sat right at the front door. His instincts are incredible. I started the car to warm it up for a few minutes before I left because it was SO cold out, and then he started jumping in circles. He loves to go for rides. You can only imagine his dismay when I said "crate". It took a piece of cheese to get him down the stairs, but he went. As soon as I shut the door to his crate he started to cry, not bark, but literally cry. All the books say to never make a big deal about leaving your dog, so I just said "see you in a bit". When I got back three hours later, he was one very sad pup. I couldn't move a foot without him practically running in to me.

We did go out and play outside for a while, and he tooled around the yard while I cleaned up some of his "piles". We're expecting more snow tonight, so I figured I better get them picked up before they get buried. Those little spring surprises are no fun! lol! By tonight, I knew it was bath time. The last bath he had was right before the kids came home for Thanksgiving, and he was getting pretty stinky from playing in the snow. Wet dog equals stinky dog, and for some reason he can't go outside without doing head dives and sliding around in the fresh snow.

Don helped me get him in the tub and scrub him down and get his ears all cleaned out, and at this point I think he probably thought that it was one of the worst days he had ever had. He has those eyebrows that he looks at you with, and even though they usually look sad and make you feel so bad for him, I also think that they know a few swear words, and I'm sure I heard a couple come flying off of the left one a couple times tonight!

I found one of his Kong's and filled it up with some kibble and peanut butter. He took it from my hand, took his big wet body and laid on MY side of the bed and licked it until he practically fell asleep.

Tomorrow will be a better day buddy. Mom doesn't have to go anywhere. :)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

So Sad

Oh my God, if there is a dog that can break your heart, it is a Lab. All they have to do is look at you with those eyebrows, yeah, I said eyebrows, and you're toast.

Last Saturday Brutus got to play with the neighbor dog Yaeger, and he had the time of his life. On Sunday, Don was outside hanging up the Christmas wreath and Brutus got to go out to help him. Well, he decided he would hightail it right over to Yaeger's house to play again. The big problem with that was that he isn't allowed to hightail it out of our yard to go anywhere without us, and he wouldn't come back when Don told him to. He wanted to be with his friend, and that was pretty much all he cared about. So, Don had to go over to Yaeger's house and bring Brutus home, and Brutus got put on his outdoor tie while Don finished up his work. He was pretty unhappy, but he needs to learn.

Well, around comes Monday, and instead of going downstairs to go potty when he woke up, Brutus wanted to go out the front door. Yeah, right, I can't see through this one at all. The first thing on his mind when he woke up was going over to Yaeger's house again! Instead of letting him out loose, I put his outdoor tie on him, and this was the scene for the next thirty minutes until his paws got chilly and he decided to come in for some breakfast.

The front window is beveled....sorry for the bad picture!
Anyway, Yaeger's mom and dad both go to work during the day, so Yaeger is inside his house all day. He's probably just as sad as Brutus is. It's really quite pathetic. He's as pouty in the house as he is outside. Brother! Wait until we tell Don that we have to get another dog so Brutus has a playmate. JUST KIDDING!!!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Love......And A Lesson

I was working on my photo for my photo club today, and it kind of coincided with Brutus playing out in the snow. When I was watching him jumping around and playing and just loving life, it made me realize just how far we have come in the last few months.

A year ago, my husband and I decided we would welcome our first dog into our family. Our last child had left for college, we weren't ready to retire yet, and we had some love to spare.

A year ago, a dog named Brutus was sitting in a high kill shelter in Missouri, scheduled for death in the gas chamber. A young man at the shelter could see that this dog had so much love in him, but as so often happens, someone bought him and either didn't have the time to train him, or didn't care enough to train him, and therefore they didn't like him and they threw him away. I will admit that when dogs aren't trained, they can be no fun to be around, but unfortunately, they don't exactly know how to do this themselves. It's one of the responsibilities that you have to think about before you decide that you want that cute little puppy that you see in the store window, or the humane society or your local paper. Dogs are a lot of work, and a lot of money, and they deserve the respect of not being adopted if you can't handle this. The Humane Society of the U.S. put out a statistic last year that it estimated that there were close to four million dogs euthanized. Thankfully for Brutus, this young man called the Midwest Animal Rescue, and a wonderful chain of love began.

People selfishly give their time to transport these animals to safe no kill shelters and foster homes. Once they reach safety, they are typically given medical care, socialization skills, and training so they can be permanently placed in their forever home. Some of these poor animals are so emotionally and physically damaged that I can't even bare to think about it. It makes me literally sick. One of the first dogs that we went to see had been tied to a tree for a year and a half and beaten regularly. We are as patient and loving as you can get, but we knew we didn't have the knowledge to give this girl what she would need, and we had to be honest about that. If I came within five feet of her, she would tremble. How can any human be so incredibly cruel. I will never know. My motto has always been, "humans deserve twice of what they give to an animal, good or bad". Anyone who would hit an animal is a coward. Animals don't think things through like humans. They run on instinct, and hopefully some good positive training.

Now Brutus on the other hand, I knew we could handle. He had absolutely no training, didn't even know his name, and was "probably" about two years old, but he didn't seem to have any deep emotional scars other than being scared of loud noises. The more we got to know him, the more we figured he was probably bought to be a hunting dog and failed. About all he hunts is mice!

I'm not going to tell anyone that this was easy, because it wasn't, but neither is raising a puppy. Brutus had some bad habits, like "marking" my leather chair (thank God I own a carpet shampooer) and chewing up shoes, but I spent the first six months of his time with us involving him in every aspect of my life from loading the dishwasher to getting the mail, and those bad habits are but a memory.

Today, Brutus is a boy that has life by the tail, and couldn't know a greater love if he dug his way to the center of the earth. I encourage anyone looking for a canine or feline friend to consider adopting an adolescent or adult animal. There are so many little souls out there sitting in metal cages that need love, and with some patience and time, they will give it back ten fold.

First Big Snow

We had our first big snowfall of the season yesterday, and this morning Brutus was MORE than excited to get out there and help Don get the driveway cleaned out. He had already been out back to go potty, (Brutus, not Don) so he had done a couple head dives into the fresh powder, and when dad said "Brutus, do you want to go outside with dad?" I thought his little butt was literally going to shake off. In this picture, his tail is wagging so fast that you can't even see it!!
We need to go back about fifteen minutes though. Brutus had been on the bed with me, looking out the bedroom window. The neighbor two doors down has a golden lab named Yaeger, and Brutus had been watching Yaeger play outside with his dad, and I could just see his mind going. This was going to be good. He and Yaeger have played on occasion, and Brutus has been known to sneak over and steal one of Yaeger's bones every now and then, so they are probably considered doggy friends.

So, Don opens the door, and this is what we see:

And he's Yaeger's house!!

And he made it!!

It's really hard to tell these two apart, but Brutus is the one with the deflated ball in his mouth. Yaeger is slightly bigger than Brutus, and has ruffly fur on his tail. Otherwise, I have mistaken Yaeger for Brutus a few times!! Also Brutus always has his collar on, and Yaeger rarely does.

These two played and played and played. It was awesome, and so much fun to watch. They were like two kids in a candy store that hadn't had sugar in a year!
This is when it gets funny. They had been playing for quite a while, and I think they were getting tired, at least Brutus was. He had Yaeger's ball, and he decided to lay on it to take a break.

Yaeger was like "dude, this is totally not fair. Get off the ball!! Come on man!!" But Brutus stayed right where he was.

Pretty soon Yaeger had had enough and decided he was going to tell his dad. He started barking like crazy. I still have the flu, so I was in my bedroom window, two houses away, and I could hear him. It was  hilarious!!
It worked. They were up and running around again, and having a blast. I think Brutus just needed to catch his breath. He's such a goof. At one point he was rolling around in the snow, and I know him well enough to know that he was just thinking "man, this is so awesome"!! Yaeger was looking at him like he was crazy!
Then it was time to come home. Yaeger's dad was done with his driveway, and Don needed to get busy with his. I love that we can "occasionally" trust Brutus to just play outside now. We were so worried when we moved back from the lake that being outside off leash was going to be a huge issue, and he certainly hasn't been perfect, but he keeps getting better and better, and days like this certainly make it worth his while to stick around. 
Today was an awesome day in Brutus land!!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Mom Is Sick and Brutus Doesn't Like It

I have the flu, and Brutus just doesn't get it. My bones hurt, I am freezing to death, I can't keep anything "down", and all Brutus wants to do is play. I can't even tell you how many times I've been hit in the head with a ball or bone. Aren't dogs supposed to instinctively know when their owners are sad or sick?? Or, is that just the older and wiser dogs that know these things. Daddy needs to come home from work soon. :((

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

What's Your Sleep Number?

So, the week that Don was gone, Brutus decided that he LOVED sleeping on his side of the bed. Apparently it's much more comfy than the bottom of the bed, which would make sense since it not only has a nice little sleep number assigned to it, but it has years of molding added to it too. Probably too many years. I can no longer get the bed to look nice and smooth on top. You can always tell where our body "dents" are.

When Don came home, Brutus really didn't think that it was such a great idea that he moved off from "his" side of the bed. It kind of started with Don crawling in to bed to watch TV. Brutus would see him coming, and he would run over, jump on the bed and plop himself down right on Don's side of the bed so Don couldn't lay there. Don would have to push him over toward the middle, but Brutus literally turned himself in to dead weight. Of course, I was laughing the whole time because Brutus was acting like a big child, and well, I'm not going to say how Don was acting. :)

Then Don was waking up exhausted. He said that Brutus was taking over his pillow. He would start out with just his head on the pillow next to him. Then he would move his head so it was sort of cradling Don's head, and then it would end up that his head was on top of Don's. Not good. Keep in mind that while all of this is going on, Brutus is snoring and also moving his body over closer toward Don too.

Well, last night I was having trouble getting to sleep, so I was sitting on the bed doing some stuff on my laptop. Pretty soon Brute was snoring and had laid down with his head right next to Don's. I just couldn't resist getting a picture. I know that Don isn't going to be happy about this one, but honey, just remember that it was funny, OK????

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What A Week

Wow, it's been a while since I've had time to sit down and catch up on the good old Brutus Blog. The last time that I blogged, Don was in Wisconsin deer hunting, and was supposed to be that way for a few more days. As it turned out, he ended up with a molar that needed a root canal, and came home four days early. As any of you women know, it's never fair when men come home during your "alone time" week, no matter how much we love them. Thankfully, he was on vicodin for most of the week, and I really did feel pretty bad for him, so he was forgiven this time. He just better not make a habit of it.

Needless to say, Brutus was more than thrilled to have dad back. He was so pouty and sad the whole time Don was gone. I have said many times that Brutus is definitely a two parent dog. If one of us is gone, he sits and waits for the other one to come home. He is probably worse about that if I am gone, but he really misses his dad too. The difference there is that he knows dad leaves every day and comes home every night. When that routine is goofed up, he just doesn't understand. He usually starts sitting in the entryway around 4:00-4:30 so he's sure to be able to greet Don with a big hug when he comes in the door. When he did that after Don left to go hunting, and Don didn't come home, it was pretty pathetic. He was like a big mopey child.

On Wednesday evening, we had to drop Brutus off at doggy daycare. It really broke my heart, because Don had just gotten home and made Brutus all happy again, and then we had to turn around and take him to the kennel. He technically didn't need to be there until Thursday (Thanksgiving Day) when we went to my Mom's in Wisconsin, but the PetSmart that houses the daycare where we take Brutus was going to be closed on Thanksgiving Day, so we had to drop him off a day early, which meant staying there for two nights. We took his bed, blanket, two of his favorite toys and his food. He has always had a great time at their doggy daycare, but this was a little different because he was staying overnight. I felt SO guilty. Don actually took him there to drop him off because I was too much of a wimp, and he said that Brutus just looked at the door as he left, like "don't leave without me!!!". I would have died. Side note: the kennel was fully staffed during the holiday. There just wasn't a way for people to get in and out being it's a facility within a facility.

Andrew and Karri came on Wednesday night so that we could head to my mom's early on Thursday morning. We weren't going to spend the night at mom's, but we wanted to be able to spend the whole day with her, and my brother and sister-in-law and nephew. We had kind of a bad snowstorm on Wednesday, so I was really worried about the kids making it, but they did, and everything went as planned. We had a great day at my mom's. Plenty of food and beverages were had by all. Don was our sober driver for the day, which made him our hero. Not only was his mouth sore from having a big time root canal, but he was spending the day with my fun loving silly side of the family, and NOT drinking! He's a really good sport!

Friday morning we didn't wake up until 9:30 in the morning. I couldn't believe it! Don never sleeps past 6:00, so this was a real shocker. I'm guessing his happy pills had something to do with it! I was supposed to pick up Brutus between 7:00-9:00 because they need the kennels for the next days dogs that are coming in unless you are booked for that day too, and they were completely booked because of the holidays. Needless to say, I had to pay a little extra. Ugh!! When we got home, I put Brutus's dog bed back in the bedroom on the floor. Pretty soon he comes walking out to the living room with his bed in his mouth, tearing it apart, and humping it. He was definitely trying to show that bed who was boss. I was laughing pretty hard, but at the same time, it was pretty sad. He was so upset. He didn't act like this when he just went to the daycare that was during the day, and I really didn't understand what the problem was with his bed.

He finally settled down and had been OK for about an hour when Sophie, one of our cats, walked in to his bed. He jumped up and growled at her, which he never does. He has always been really gentle with the cats. That time he got scolded. Andrew was sitting the closest to him, and a few minutes after Brutus had his tantrum, Andrew reached over toward him, but also had his hand toward the bed, and Brutus did the same thing to Andrew. The really bad thing was that Brutus actually bit Andrew and broke the skin on the back of one of his fingers. NOT cool. We got Andrew's finger cleaned up, and being Andrew is amazing with animals, the first thing he did was go right back to Brutus to make friends with him. He knew Brutus was upset, and not necessarily with him. Later that afternoon Andrew took Brutus out for a run, and after that they were best buds for the rest of the weekend, but it was scary there for a while. This just wasn't my gentle Brutus boy.

On Friday night Ashley flew in from Kansas. We were all so excited to see her. I thought Brutus was going to knock her over. The funny thing is, when we went to Joan's (Brutus's foster mom's) to pick Brutus up when we adopted him, Brutus saw Ashley's face, and that was it. It was love at first sight, and no matter how long they are apart, that love just comes rolling back full force. He adores that girl, almost too much. Ashley has always been a "kitty" girl, and the three cats were also quite happy to see her, but Brutus would get really jealous. There was a little grumbling, head butting and pushing done by Brutus if the cats just happened to be getting more attention than he was. It was kind of embarrassing. He was acting like an undisciplined child.
The time with the kids always goes too fast, but it was so much fun. Saturday we just hung out at the house and talked and relaxed. It was wonderful! Ashley stayed up the night before with Karri and Andrew until 4:30 in the morning, which meant that she had been awake for twenty-three hours straight, so she was in bed by 8:00 that night, but she needed it. She rarely gets to sleep in in the morning, so the more sleep she could get, the better. I was just so glad that the kids had some time to "catch up" the night before.

On Sunday, my mom and her friend Carsten drove out to see the kids for a couple hours, and then Karri and Andrew had to pack up and head back to St. Cloud. Leaving is such a bummer. Just the whole packing and driving and saying "good-bye". After all of the "trauma" from having been in the kennel for two nights, and then having all of the company show up, Brutus was very unhappy when Andrew and Karri left. It was just one more change in his life that he didn't like. He tore through the house throwing his toys around, and nipping at us. His behavior was off the charts naughty, but I could only attribute it to all of the chaos in his doggy life. Getting mad at him wasn't going to do any good. All we could do was try to bring some normalcy and calm in to his life. It wasn't going to happen yet, but we would get working on it!!

Monday was "girl day" for Ashley and I, which meant crate time for Brutus. We didn't leave for lunch until 1:00 in the afternoon, but he wasn't happy. When we walked out to the garage after crating him, he was crying terribly. I can only hope that he settled down after a few minutes. By the time that we got home at 5:00, Don was already home. Ash and I crawled in to bed and watched movies all night and snuggled up with Brutus, and a couple of the cats that aren't too afraid to put him in his place. He still wasn't even close to "himself", but he seemed to calm down a little bit.

Today Brutus and I took Ashley to the airport. He loves to go for car rides, and he rode in the back seat the whole way there, and when Ashley got out to leave, he stepped to the front seat to give her a kiss. Since we have been home, he has been snoozing on the bed. I can only think that this past week was just too much for him. Thankfully, during the Christmas holiday he won't have to be kenneled at all. Maybe that will help him to adjust to the addition of each person that comes to stay. This will be our first Christmas with Brutus, and I'm going to end today's post on this note. It occurred to me today that we probably shouldn't put up a Christmas tree until the day before the kids come home. To Brutus, it would be the equivalent of bringing a great big potty chair in to the house. How do you explain to a dog that he can pee on the pine tree in the back yard, but not the one you just put in the family room?? If we would have trained him from puppyhood, this maybe wouldn't even be an issue, but since we trained him from God knows what hood, I think it would be a big issue, and one that we would be better off just avoiding until I am in the right mind set to watch his every move for a couple days.

And on that note, I wish you all a wonderful week. :)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Craigslist.....Mouser Available

This morning it was literally freezing rain when I let Brutus outside to go potty. He did his "business" jumped around a little bit to get the cobwebs off his fur from sleeping, ran under the steps of the deck and came back with this:
I'm going to be nice today and not give you the FULL visual. This guy can get a mouse anywhere!! It's just unbelievable. What I really don't understand is why he can't do it when my husband is home. Ugh!!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sweet Ride

For the last eleven months (since Brutus turned our lives right side up side down), whenever we have traveled any where with Brutus we have had to put sheets or blankets over the seats in the car to keep the fur down to a minimum. They are fine, other than they tend to slide all over the place, and by the time we would get to our destination they were usually either in a bundle on the seat, or on the floor, and the seat was a mess anyway.

Dog seat cover to the rescue. I was so excited to find this. It hooks behind the head rests, behind the seat and under the seat, so it should stay in place, it's nice and soft, washable and even has a little bump in the front for Brute to grip in case "someone" other than mom is driving and happens to stop a little sudden.

Brutus apparently likes it, as he's been out in the car since I put it in there. It could also be that dad's out of town deer hunting, and Brutus is pouting big time that dad left without him, and he thinks that if he sits there long enough the car just might leave and take him to the lake. But, I'm thinking that eventually he will get chilly and knock on the door to come in, and mom will do in a pinch. :)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Just Hand It To Him On A Platter

Brutus and I went for a walk this afternoon, and all in all things were going pretty well. It was only 28 degrees outside, so we were walking pretty fast, but that helped to keep me warm!

So, I'm always talking about how Brutus has this great nose for critters, and how nothing gets past him. Well today he wasn't exactly on his toes. Part of our walk goes through a wooded area, and he has his nose to the ground tracking something. I look up and there's a deer standing about ten feet to the left of us. He never did see it, and it didn't move a muscle other than turning it's head to follow us. I was waiting for an exorcist moment! I didn't realize that deer could turn their heads so far around.

We make it past the deer without incident, get out of the woods and are heading past a house that has a big pine tree in front of it, and Brutus wants to stop and take a smell. At this point we've already put in a good two miles, so the rest of the walk is "his" walk. I let him exercise his senses too. So he sticks his head under the tree and pulls out a squirrel. Yep, a great big frozen solid squirrel. I have just spent the whole summer and fall taking mice and chipmunks out of his mouth, and really thought that now that we are back in the city I could be at least just about done with the rodents for a few months, and this one was already dead and just waiting for him. So of course he's got it locked in his jaws like he has just found the treasure chest filled with gold, and I'm trying to figure out how in the heck I'm going to get it away from him. There is no way in hell that he's going to carry it for the last half mile of our walk! I can just see the look on my neighbor's faces if they happen to drive by and I'm walking Brutus with a big squirrel in his mouth. Ugh! So, since it was frozen solid, I pulled on Brutus's leash so I had his head right down to the sidewalk, put my foot on the squirrel and pulled the two apart. It was absolutely disgusting. As soon as it was out of his mouth I ran so he wouldn't have a chance to pick it back up.

OK people out there, Brutus is good enough at catching and killing and bringing me rodents all by himself. There is no need to put them under the edge of a tree for him to pick up. I thank you from the bottom of my squirrel guts covered shoe. :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Nap Time

This weather has thrown a big wrench in to our (my) routine. A week ago I was able to walk Brutus in sweats and a t-shirt, and didn't have to give much thought to him getting muddy or wet. This week I have to bundle up in a coat, scarf, gloves, shoes with a good grip on the bottom, and make sure I have a towel in the entry way for when we get home so I can clean the mud and slush off of Brutus. It's a bummer with a capital B!

The weatherman described today's precipitation as shnizzle. Clever huh?? A good old combination of snow and drizzle. It didn't matter to Brutus. If I went anywhere near the front door, he was right there in front of me with that pathetic look on his face that said, very simply, PLEEEEASE let's go! So off we went. I came back cold and miserable and wet, and Brutus came back happy, content and ready for a cozy nap. Oh to be Brutus. :)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Baby It's Cold Outside!

Last night we headed to the lake, and like we usually do, we met up with our friends for some cocktails and conversation at the local pub. The temperature had dropped down to just under forty degrees, so we were kind of debating if we should let Brutus be in the garage like he had been all spring and summer, or if the time had come to bring his crate in to the house. He has separation anxiety, so if his crate is in the house, he has to be in it with the door shut, compared to being in the garage where it can be his choice to go lay in it if he wants to. I absolutely hate the thought of crating him for hours, probably because he hates his crate so much. Some dogs are raised with their crate as their safe place, and I can pretty much guarantee that Brutus was not. About the only time that he actually wants to go in to his crate is during a bad thunderstorm, and then I assume that the closeness of the walls gives him some sense of security.

Anyway, we decided it was still probably warm enough for him to be in the garage, so Don found an old sleeping bag that wasn't really usable anymore and put it under his crate to get it off of the cement floor, and I had thrown a couple quilts over his crate to keep any breezes out. On the inside there is a foam mat and a blanket to lay on, so it's really pretty cozy. We usually put his outdoor tie on him and just leave the garage door cracked a couple feet so he can get in and out to go potty, but he had just gone to the bathroom, and we didn't plan on being gone real long, so we closed the door to keep him warmer and to let him be able to move around better. Well, he had some major separation anxiety, because this is what we came home to.

As you can see, there is literally no sleeping bag left under his crate. It was in pieces all over the garage, and his crate had been turned all the way around. I can't even imagine how crazed he was when he was tearing that thing apart. Not a happy boy.

This morning we woke up to a couple inches of thick slushy, icy snow. Brutus rang the poochy bells on the front door to go out and go potty, stuck his nose out the door, took two steps out and turned right around and came back in. He wasn't sure what had happened to his "world"! We had to laugh, because he was adamant that he was not going out "there". We thought that maybe if he went out through the garage and could get used to it gradually it wouldn't be so bad. I took him to the garage, and while I thought he was heading out the door, I went to the car to get his toy box out. He jumped in the back seat of the car and wouldn't move. It was almost as if he was saying "get me the hell out of here and take me back to where the weather is nice". What a baby!
 Finally Don put on his snow gear and asked Brutus if he wanted to go for a walk. That seemed to bring him out of his depressed mood. All you have to do is say "walk" and he'll get up from just about anything he's doing and start jumping around. Don said that he had a great time on his walk, and he even enjoyed jumping around in the snow, so hopefully he'll be a little broken in now.

And so the winter begins. If I remember correctly, Brutus's favorite thing about winter is going ice fishing, and knocking peoples beer over so he can drink them. Hmmm. Should be fun.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Brutus Has A New Favorite Toy

Yesterday Brutus decided that he was going with me when I left to go run errands. It's gotten so that if I so much as get dressed and act like I'm heading for my purse, he starts getting excited and jumping around and heading for the door. It makes crating him a little difficult! So, off we went.

I saved the grocery store for the last stop, which is actually a very well thought out plan. There was one time that I didn't, and when I came back to the car there was much less food than I had originally purchased left in the bags! Being the big sap that I am, I decided I would look for a little toy to get him for being such a good boy. I came across a squeaky green ball, and figured he would love it. He literally hasn't let it out of his sight. He's so protective of this toy that if one of the cats jumps up on the bed, he'll grab his toy and tuck it right next to him so the cats can't have it, as if they could even get it in their mouths to begin with. Kind of shows his immaturity!! So, here are some photos of Brutus loving on his new toy. Enjoy. ;)